With the first vaccines reaching the public requiring two doses, there is concern that some people may not get the second dose amid an aggressive disinformation campaign against vaccination.
“There are several factors and behaviors that prevent many well-meaning people from completing a two-step process, such as the one recommended for Covid-19 vaccines,” said Mark Fendrick of the University of Michigan in the United States.
“We need to provide everything we need to support those who receive the first blow to make sure they complete their second dose.”
This lack of supplementation has been well established for other two-dose vaccines, such as those that prevent less contagious and less lethal conditions such as shingles, human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B.
The University of Michigan physician and researcher said vaccines that require more than one dose create additional behavioral and environmental challenges, including side effects reports, false claims about vaccine safety, logistical barriers, and program politicization that can discourage people who are not vaccinated or return for the second dose.
Healthcare providers can distribute a card when administering the first doses, to help educate patients about the vaccine and to encourage pre-appointment for the second dose.
A support program for joining the smartphone-based vaccine could also be added to optimize vaccine absorption, the University of Michigan said in a statement.
“Smartphone apps and devices are already able to get people to take their medications, check their blood pressure or blood sugar, or even measure their heart rate,” Fendrick said.
Beyond automatic reminders, a quick call or email from someone from a trusted source could work wonders, he said.
In addition to personalized messages, Fendrick believes that small financial rewards, such as a $ 50 gift card, would further increase vaccine absorption.
A vaccination campaign against the deadly coronavirus pandemic began on Monday in the US, while health workers rolled up their sleeves to get the first photos of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The vaccination regimen presented by Pfizer-BioNTech requires the administration of two doses of vaccine at a distance of 21 days.
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